McDonald’s has unveiled a new global flagship restaurant that is aiming for the “ultimate efficiency” in energy usage and performance.
The chain said that the “first-of-its-kind” site in Orlando, Florida will generate all its own power to run its entire kitchen and restaurant operation from renewable energy.
The construction of the restaurant means it can create enough renewable energy on-site to cover 100% of its energy needs on a net annual basis.
McDonald’s will also use the flagship as a learning hub to test solutions for reducing energy and water use in future.
The newly remodelled building is located on the west side of the Walt Disney World Resort and will initially only open for Drive Thru and McDelivery service during a ‘soft-launch’ phase before introducing a dine-in service again.
To solidify the restaurant’s Net Zero Energy status, McDonald’s will pursue the International Living Future Institute’s Zero Energy Certification over the next year.
Data and learnings from the restaurant will also inform McDonald’s global sustainability efforts, including progressing toward the company’s science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36% in restaurants and offices by 2030 compared to a 2015 base year.
Detail is light on the work that has taken place in the kitchen and back-of-house area, but McDonald’s has revealed some of the other characteristics that make the site unique.
For example, the 8,000 square-foot restaurant features an expansive, V-shaped solar-panelled roof and photovoltaic glass panels integrated throughout the building. The 1,066 solar panels are capable of generating 600,000 kWh per year.
Over 1,700 square feet of green, plant-covered walls will absorb CO2, promoting biodiversity and retaining water. The site also features low flow plumbing fixtures and water raining pavers to ensure water is used efficiently and minimises waste.
Louvers open and close automatically ‘inhaling” cool air in and “exhaling” warm air out. Outdoor porch skylights feature 1,500 square feet of solar glass panels generate close to 70,000 kWh per year.
Solar parking lot lights help offset more than 9,000 kWh per year, while stationary bikes used by customers turn people power into kinetic energy powering the McDonald’s Golden Arch string lights.